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WV Book Team: Award-winning author, native West Virginian publishes memoir

Keith Maillard, a West Virginia Literary Merit Award recipient, is the author of fourteen books, including “The Clarinet Polka,” “Morgantown,” “Dementia Americana,” and most recently “Twin Studies.” Born and raised in Wheeling, West Virginia, he has lived in Vancouver for most of his adult life, where he has taught creative writing at the University of British Columbia since 1989.

His memoir, “Fatherless,” begins with a phone call out of the blue: a lawyer tells a writer that his 96-year-old father, with whom he has had no contact since the age of three and whom he has twice tried to find without success, has just died, leaving him nothing. Half-reluctant, half-fascinated, both angry and curious, he begins to research his father’s life.

The result is a suspenseful work of historical reconstruction — a social history often reading like a detective story — as well as a psychologically acute portrait of the impact of a father’s absence. Walking a tightrope between the known and the unknown, and following a trail that takes him from Vancouver to Montreal to his native Wheeling, West Virginia, Keith Maillard has pulled off a book that only a novelist of his stature could write.

Marc Harshman, poet laureate of West Virginia, calls “Fatherless” both “marvelous and brutally honest,” while Eden Robinson, author of “Son of a Trickster,” proclaims it is an “astonishing act of generosity and tenacity, exploring the profound flaws of one family’s dynamics and the resiliency of the human spirit.”

Clark Blaise, author of “I Had a Father,” declares it is “Keith Maillard’s haunting response to that most ancient curse: Why, father, did you desert me? How, father, should I love you?”

Keith Maillard will be a featured writer for Ohio County Public Library’s People’s University Series, a special homecoming event for Wheeling, West Virginia’s most celebrated authors during the city’s 250-year celebration. This event will take place during the Upper Ohio Valley Festival of Books on Nov. 5.

Now available.

240pp / PB 978-1-949199-13-0: $23.99 / eBook 978-1-949199-14-7: $23.99

To order this book or to learn more about WVU Press, visit, phone (800) 621-2736, or visit a local bookstore. For updates on books and events, follow WVU Press on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest or join our mailing list on

Abby Freeland is the Sales & Marketing Manager of West Virginia University Press and the acquisitions editor of Vandalia Press, the fiction imprint of WVU Press.

Funerals for Saturday, September 21, 2019

Abodeely, Malakee - 11 a.m., St. George Orthodox Cathedral, Charleston. 

Ayers, Helen - 11 a.m., Belcher Family Cemetery, Pinch Ridge.

Backus, Ernest - 2 p.m., First Baptist Church of Rainelle.

Bailey, Jerry - 5 p.m., Chapman Funeral Home, Hurricane.

Carney Jr., Chester - 2 p.m., Cunningham-Parker-Johnson Funeral Home, Charleston.

Carter, Blanche - 11 a.m., Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, North Elkview.

Copen, Louise - Noon, McRoss Baptist Church, McRoss.

Fizer, Donna - 3 p.m., Hafer Funeral Home, Elkview.

Fowler, Jeannette - 1 p.m., Casto Funeral Home, Evans.

Goard II, Mitchell - 5 p.m., Central Community Tabernacle, Charleston.

Hammack, Barbara - 2 p.m., Tyler Mountain Memory Gardens, Cross Lanes.

Kessinger, Wilma - 4 p.m., Canaan Baptist Church, Charleston.

Knight II, James - 6 p.m., Casto Funeral Home, Evans.

Lymon, Daniel - 1 p.m., Grace Bible Church, Charleston.

McKown, Travis - Noon, Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, Wallback.

Miller, Alexander - 4 p.m., Roane County High School, Spencer.

Mitchell, Emma - 2 p.m., Calvary Baptist Church, Hurricane.

Montgomery, Betty - 11 a.m., Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Charleston.

Pfeil, Ruth - 2 p.m., Gatens-Harding Funeral Home Chapel, Poca.

Roush III, George - 12:30 p.m., Tyler Mountain Funeral Home, Cross Lanes.

Samuels, Hazel - 1:30 p.m., Dunbar Kingdom Hall, Dunbar.

Slonaker II, Harvey - Noon, Curry Funeral Home, Alum Creek.

Starks, Henry - 11 a.m., Lantz Funeral Home, Buckeye.

Stooke, David - Noon, Henson & Kitchen Mortuary, Huntington.

Thompson, Thomas - 2 p.m., Tyree Funeral Home, Mount Hope.

White, Duane - 1 p.m., Evans Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Chapmanville.

White, James - 1 p.m., Cedar Grove Middle School, Cedar Grove.

Woodson Jr., Lewis - 1 p.m., Abundant Life Ministries, Charleston.